healthy holiday drinks

by | Dec 14, 2018

Who doesn’t love a warm, creamy cup of hot cocoa on a cool fall/winter day? Well lucky for us we can make one that actually benefits the body, starting with whole, nutrient-dense ingredients. Not only have I provided my take on hot chocolate, but it’s also just as easy to blend up an ‘eggnog’ spiced drink or vanilla steamer. All three of these drinks start with the same dairy-free cashew base, then easily made into whichever drink you want by frothing in some cacao or spices.

Slightly sweet, creamy, and rich. These drinks start with a simple base of raw cashews, dates, and water. You can either blend up a big batch of one of them, or create a customizable DIY drink bar for you next Christmas, New Year, or any gathering. 

Benefits of these drinks:

  • Raw cashews. Healthy fats and a variety of nutrients like magnesium, B vitamins, manganese, and copper.
  • Dates. My favorite sweetener, dates provide a rich caramel flavor and are a whole food which means they have fiber and a wide array of nutrients – potassium, calcium, iron, and B vitamins, etc.
  • Raw cacao. High concentrations of phytochemicals like catechins and flavonoids which has been shown to improve cardiovascular health due to have anti-hypertensive, anti-thrombotic, and vasodilation effects. Other nutrients cacao is rich in – calcium, iron, magnesium. I love cacao from Terrasoul and Imlak’esh.
  • Spices like Ceylon cinnamon. Ceylon (‘true’) cinnamon has the most benefits among cinnamon varieties. In general, there are a variety of compounds and phytochemicals in cinnamon that make it phenomenal. The polyphenol class proanthocyanidins (PACs) is shown to improve blood sugar specifically and have anti-microbial/inflammatory properties… even as little as 1/4 tsp a day shows benefits. But there is also a compound – coumarin – which has been shown to cause liver and kidney damage at high doses in animal studies. However, Ceylon cinnamon does NOT have high levels of coumarin that other varieties do, so you get as much of those beneficial PACs, while as minimal amount of coumarin as possible.
How easy it is to make:
  1. Once you have the creamy cashew base, all that’s needed is stirring in desired spices or cacao. Create the base by blending raw cashews that have been soaked until soft (about 20-30 minutes), a few pitted dates, and hot water on high until creamy. Slowly stream in the water until you reach your desired thickness. Don’t forget to taste, assess thickness and sweetness, and adjust with additional dates or water if needed.
  2. Create a DIY drink bar by having the spices available to add to the individual mug, pour in the base, and either stir or froth. 
  3. If making a big batch of just one of the drinks, blend the cacao or spices into the cream and serve.
Healthy Holiday Drinks
Total Time
15 mins
 

Three holiday drinks: hot cocoa, 'eggnog,' and vanilla steamed milk. Made as whole and nutrient-dense as possible all with the same dairy-free cashew base. Serve at whatever temperature you want. 

Author: Noelle
Ingredients
  • Raw cashews, soaked until soft (15+ min), and drained
  • Fresh dates, pitted
  • Hot water, as needed
  • For hot cacao : raw cacao
  • For 'eggnog' : ground nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, fresh vanilla bean
  • For vanilla steamer : fresh vanilla bean
Instructions
To make a DIY bar
  1. Create the base by blending raw cashews, a few pitted dates (~2 for every ~1 cup cashews), and hot water on high until creamy. Slowly stream in the water until you reach your desired thickness.

  2. Taste. Assess the thickness and sweetness. Adjust by blending in another date or two, or more water, as necessary.

  3. Have the raw cacao, spices for the ‘egg nog’, and vanilla for the vanilla steamer set up to be able to add directly to your mug. Depending on the drink you make, add the necessary ingredients to your mug. Pour in the cashew milk. If frothing, pour to fill 1/2 - 3/4 of the mug. Either mix with a spoon or froth until thoroughly mixed.

  4. Taste. Assess flavor and adjust by adding more as desired.

To make one batch in the blender
  1. Blend raw cashews that have been soaked, a few pitted dates, and hot water on high until creamy. Slowly stream in the water until you reach your desired thickness.

  2. Taste. Assess the thickness and sweetness. Adjust by blending in another date or two, or more water, as necessary.

  3. Once you have the base, blend in desired cacao or spices. Use as much as you’d like, depending on the volume you make and how rich of flavor you want. If unsure, start with a lesser amount, blend, taste, and add more in smaller amounts. Repeat as needed to reach desired taste.

*For those that don't know, my recipes are made as whole and nutrient-dense as possible, but still incredibly satisfying. I share my recipes without measurements and hope they equip you to not feel confined to a recipe, but rather confident in your kitchen to be able to create something unique, nourishing, and delicious all on your own. So take this recipe as inspiration and enjoy! Head on over to my IG @noelle.parton and tag me if you try this out, or contact me if you have questions or comments.

 

May you walk into the abundance God has for you,

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I’m Noelle, creator of Simply to Thrive. A place all about getting back to the basics – simplifying all facets of wellness to empower you to live an abundant life through whole, plant-based eating and an intentional lifestyle.

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